Becoming Acquainted with Breastfeeding
Once your precious one is out onto these world, the next challenge that will come along the way is how to get yourself acquainted with breastfeeding. You and your baby share a natural bond but proper breastfeeding takes a bit of practice.
You might be wondering if all expectant mom produce milk in the nine months of pregnancy. The answer is yes and it is very rare for women not to lactate. Remember that time during your first trimester when your breast are all sore and sensitive? This is a sign that the body is preparing the mammary glands for milk production in the coming months.
A special gift you can provide to your offspring during breastfeeding is the colostrum. This is a yellow substance consists of nutrients and antibodies needed by the baby for strong immunity against viruses. This will serve as your baby’s first food.
You must prepare yourself as mastering breastfeeding will test your patience. The trick here is to not make yourself and your baby forced to do it. There are many problems associated with breastfeeding but all these can be surpassed when you have the positive attitude towards it.
What is Latching?
To latch means “to get attached onto something” and that it is what you want your baby to do when you place the child on your chest. Getting your baby to adhere to your nipple and areola takes time. Once you and your baby get used to this, the baby’s mouth will automatically open as you place the nipple near the baby’s lips. Once the nipple is in place, the baby will know that it is feeding time and that milk will pour out when sucking motion is done.
How Do You Master Breastfeeding Latch?
There is no definite techniques to fully grasp the idea of breastfeeding latch. Take for example when you were learning how to ride a bike, you will have to balance on your own and after a few rides, voila! You will know how to pedal and move in no time. These are the few things that will come in the perfect time. Here are the methods and tips so you can guide the baby to the right way to latch on:
- Learn to cradle the baby at the chest level. You can use a body pillow or regular pillows to put at your lower back and on the side of your shoulders.
- If you are seated on a chair, put one pillow on your lap to bring the baby at the level before your nipples. Add one pillow under the arm that supports your baby’s neck and head.
- Use a stool to bring your legs up as your hold the baby closer to your chest.
- If you are seated on a bed, put pillows under your knees to avoid leg cramps.
- Tie your hair in a bun or wear a headband to prevent hair from falling onto your child’s face while you breastfeed.
- While you carry the baby on one side, use your free hand to cup your breast from under. Position your nipple onto the upper lip and let the baby’s lower lip take a mouthful of the areola. If the baby’s mouth is closed, ask for help from someone to carefully pull the baby’s lower lip and slowly open it to accommodate the breast. Both the top and bottom of the lips should be circling the areola.
Signs that Your Baby is Latching Properly
Here’s a checklist to know if your little one is latching and sucking correctly. Some of these signs can be observed immediately while other can take some time to show:
- There is no milk leaking from both sides of the mouth. When the top and bottom lips are fully turned out, a seal is created between the baby’s mouth and your areola.
- The baby who is latching properly have rounded cheeks and you will see a slight movement on the ears as the baby sucks milk from the breast.
- You will hear baby swallowing after sucking two to three times. Colostrum might be quite tricky to suck and might take a while before you hear the baby swallow something. The continues sucking and swallowing will happen as the baby gets familiar with latching.
- The baby will have the tendency to doze off after breastfeeding as there is a feeling of being full and relaxed. This is similar to an adult feeling sleepy after a good meal.
- When the baby is not latched on properly, you will see dimpled cheeks as the baby is not sucking the milk flawlessly. It means the tongue is blocking the nipple and not positioned under it.
- There is a clicking noise as nipple is rubbing on the baby’s mouth and there is no efficient sucking motion.
- Feel the position of your nipple in your child’s mouth. It should be placed at back portion of the tongue. The front of the tongue must be latched on the lower part of the nipple and the areola.
- After several months of successful latching, you will see that baby is slowly gaining weight especially in the arms, legs, and cheeks. You will also feel and observe that there is an eagerness in your baby every time you signal that it is feeding time.
- Most women connects their postpartum weight loss to breastfeeding. According to studies, you burn as much as 300 calories when you breastfeed your baby but you will still need to eat food rich in protein as you will need sufficient energy to produce more milk.
Food Intake when Breastfeeding
Familiarizing yourself with breakfast might be awkward at first, but it’s about making it as habit. You don’t need to overthink it and just let the process takes place. It will eventually feel painless and comfortable in no time. Also, don’t compare yourself to other nursing mothers who learned how to do it easily. Don’t feel intimated and change the negative attitude that breastfeeding is only for the few chosen ones.
Many studies show that babies have innate knowledge that they will be fed through breastfeeding. And amazingly, nature also has its way to leave hints to the babies to find the prime source of milk. Remember the darkening of your areolas and the visible line forming from your navel and up the stomach? Specialists say that babies are inclined to follow these dark spots and direct them to where the will be fed to be able to live. Talk about survival skills at a very young age!
You can ask help from a lactation consultant if you feel your baby is still not latching properly after a several months. Lactation experts say that teaching your baby to latch onto you need exact timing. As much as possible, nurse your as soon as you give birth. Right after delivery, you see that most babies elongate their tongues as if searching for something to suck. This is the natural drive to find the breast of the mother. Don’t miss the chance to latch the baby when the nurses bring the infant to your chest. The baby’s reflexes to find the milk source can last only for an hour or two.
You can also try latching in times the baby is longing for milk - especially in the morning. This adds a little pressure for the little one to open his or her mouth and perfectly latch onto you.
Aside from teaching you how latching works, the lactation expert can demonstrate how to extract milk from your breasts using either a manual or an electric pump.
You can also seek advice from the lactation specialist whether lactating mother need special diet to be able to produce more milk. Generally speaking, there is no formula or perfect meal plan to increase milk production. Based on studies, the quality of milk produced by a nursing mom is not influenced by the food intake. Milk is a reliable food source for baby at anytime. There is greater chance that an unhealthy diet will affect the mother than the baby.
The point of eating meals consist of proteins, fiber, and vitamins is for the mother to regain the lost energy during pregnancy. Add to that the energy needed to rear a growing child, take care of the family and finish the daily activities at home.
You can still eat and drink your usual food or even your favorites but always in moderation. Bear in mind that eating well will make you stronger to endure the sleepless nights and stressful days.
Regardless of the food you eat, the essential thing about breastfeeding is doing it frequently will lead to many rewarding things - your baby is nourished, you lactate more, and you cut a few inches off your waistline.
After giving birth, the action of breast feeding might seem like the most natural thing for a woman to do as it is one of the very first things she does when taking care of her newborn. Even if women have been lactating for centuries, it is not such an easy thing to learn. In fact, both mother and baby need to take their time and try to learn this complicated yet wonderful process. There are a few main things women have to learn and remember about breastfeeding before even beginning to lactate.
The Importance of Being Relaxed While Breast Feeding
For a woman to successfully approach breast feeding, she needs to be first of all very relaxed. The anxiety of learning how to breastfeed summed up to external issues, can cause a chemical imbalance in the woman’s nervous system, which can lead to causing anxiety and stress. It is actually proven that anxious and nervous women produce much less milk compared to those who are happy and relaxed.
Doctors also recommend creating a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere by turning on soft music in the background, lighting up sweet-smelling candles, thinking positive thoughts and trying to fully enjoy this unique bonding experience that only a mother can have with her child. Using a soft pillow to support the baby while breast feeding can bring invaluable physical comfort also to the mother.
Learning About Breast Feeding
Once the baby is in the right position and ready to nurse, it is important to make sure he is latched properly to his mother’s breast. This is what many women consider to be the most difficult part about breast feeding as if the latch is not correct it can become very painful for the mother. Sometimes first-time mothers who need to become acquainted with breast feeding will find it that their nipples become very soar. A good solution is to place a cool table cloth on them and also using soothing gentle cream that will help them heal.
Many hospitals offer pregnant women free courses on lactating and, after birth, a nursing expert usually keeps the new mother to breast feed her baby for the first few times. The nurse shows the woman how to properly place the breast and nipple into her baby’s mouth and how to stimulate the suction. In fact, newborns usually need a little bit of encouragement to keep nursing as the act itself requires a lot of energy on the baby’s part and he, being so little, gets tired easily and falls asleep.
Doctors also recommend keeping track of the first breastfeeding cycles as the baby should be latched on each breast for minimum 20 minutes at a time. The reason is because the longer the baby nurses, the more breast milk the woman’s body will produce. When the baby stops breastfeeding, the mother should take advantage of this short break make sure to stay hydrated and have a healthy snack. Proper nutrition, as well as regular liquid intake can help increase the quantity of milk production and ease the process of breast feeding.